All eyes on Coney Island
Joey Chestnut's fifth straight Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest title made him the "Bjorn Borg of the Smorgasbord" -- as Major League Eating dubbed him -- and was seen by 1.95 million Americans on ESPN on Monday.
That's a record for viewership. The event also tied the 2006 and '07 dog-a-thons for best rating at 1.3 percent of homes, including those populated by vegetarians and people with weak stomachs.
Chestnut himself fell short of his record 68 dogs and buns in 10 minutes, finishing with 62. Former champ Takeru Kobayashi claimed to have eaten 69 in an unofficial, simultaneous exhibition in Manhattan, but a CNBC count matched to a video of the event tallied only 65.
If MLE and Kobayashi can resolve their contract dispute and get him back on the podium beside Chestnut, all previous ratings records are sure to be swallowed whole come 2012.